Testing is once again becoming a critical weakness in America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and experts say we may need to revive tighter standards about who can get a test.
Why it matters: Although testing has gotten a lot better over the course of the pandemic, the pandemic has gotten worse, and that means the U.S. needs to prioritize its resources — which might mean that frequent testing solely to help open businesses or schools just isn’t feasible.
Where it stands: The US is conducting more than 800,000 tests per day, on average — an enormous leap from the severe testing shortages the country experienced in the spring. But it’s still not enough to keep up with demand.
- Getting the results of a test often takes take longer than a week, and sometimes almost two weeks, which makes them a lot less helpful. The longer it takes to identify positive cases, the more time the virus has to spread.
- “That dramatic scale up is unprecedented, but demand has also been unprecedented,” said Julie Khani, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association.